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How is the NHS performing? July 2019 quarterly monitoring report

15 October 2019 Deborah Ward, Siva Anandaciva - The Kings Fund

Since April 2011, The King’s Fund has published a quarterly monitoring report (QMR) to track, analyse and comment on the issues the health and care system is facing. This is the 28th QMR, which takes stock of what has happened over the past few months with NHS financial and operational performance in England.

These are strange days when it comes to health and care policy.

Compared to the recent past, it is a time of relative plenty and certainty. A five-year funding deal and long-term plan have reintroduced some strategic direction and much-needed resource to certain parts of the NHS, after the decade-long wilderness years of transition and relative austerity .

The NHS now has a clearer focus on developing joined-up systems of care through integrated care. The mechanisms (or ‘support chassis’…) for this are integrated care systems and primary care networks. And there is the potential of legislative changes on the horizon to hardwire this new way of working into how the NHS operates.

But speak to local leaders in health and social care and a sense of pessimism and uncertainty abounds. Even if it is a time of (relative) plenty for NHS funding, this is certainly not the case when it comes to the supply of clinical staff or investment in the vital health and care budgets that lie outside the NHS ringfence.

The entwined issues of Brexit and the race for a new Prime Minister are also immobilising health and care strategy. It is now likely that the national strategic paralysis will delay a long-term and comprehensive Spending Review. And this will have serious consequences for wider services, such as adult social care and public health, and delays to the final NHS People Plan.

So, in this QMR we once again look to our survey of NHS finance directors to understand how local leaders are making sense of this rapidly changing policy environment.

This edition of the QMR is structured in three sections, focusing on: the current reality local leaders are facing as 2018/19 outturn numbers emerge; their views on what the rest of 2019/20 might bring; and a look into the medium term of what health and care services can expect over the next five years.

Read here: July 2019 quarterly monitoring report